Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fengshui - To Be An Accomplished Detective

The below case is blogged with the approval of the first party.

I recently had a chat with a newly made friend of mine (about 1 month) who complained of lethargy whenever she's in her new office eventhough she had consulted a Fengshui practitioner she trust for the space set-up about 6 months ago. 

I went up to her office for a look without my luo-pan (Fengshui compass) or any tool (it was a random decision) for an initial audit and she told me of the following.

The Fengshui practitioner had only the floorplan to understand the office space then

He didn't do a needs analysis and fact finding from her before the set-up

He didn't ask or seek to understand the externalities of the office building and environment before presenting his solutions

Now the above faults are critical flaws in a Fengshui consultation for the client.  Many old-school Fengshui practitioners have deep reservations to probing their clients' needs for a set-up, worrying that they'd be seen as incompetent because they cannot "foretell" their clients' needs.

Secondly, these practitioners often thought doing an office set-up with the floorplan and direction of the office main door facing would suffice.  Little do they know that there're many interior and externalities blindspots they will miss, hence give a poor solution to their clients.

A Fengshui practitioner in many ways is like a detective, or a doctor.  It's their job to marry the interior, externalities then diagnose for weak and strong spots, then work the findings for a holistic and total solution.

I'll now list the following facts I gathered from my first visit to her office.

  1. Her company is a 2-person set-up dealing with shipping materials, with a space set aside for another company who is a 1-person set-up, and he's hardly around
  2. The office space is more than 1,000 sqf
  3. The boss (my friend) is seated under a beam and by a pillar
  4. Printing machines are not given a space of their own
  5. The office space is located in an industrial building of an industrial estate
  6. The ceilings are exposed of the central aircon, it's cabling track, and the fire sprinklers' pipes
  7. The main interior color of the building is red and yellow with badly lit corridors
  8. The office is located in a cluster of buildings

That practitioner managed to find out the hot and cold spots of the office for my friend but he forgot the fact-finding and needs analysis part and made the following mistakes.

  1. 3 people occupying a space more than 1,000 sqf is too big because lacking of 人气 (human energy) for a big office/house cause very stagnant Qi (energy) flow and the dwellers or people in the space would feel lethargic and unmotivated.  If it's a house, the dwellers would either feel moody often and/or often away from home because it's Qi (energy) isn't in a positive flow
  2. Exposed office ceilings create a sense of insecurity due to the untidiness
  3. No one should be constantly sitting under the beam and by the pillar as this will "press" onto their energy
  4. Printing machines, being machines disrupt Qi (energy) due to the electric flow in them and should be located away from the working cubicles by at least 1.5 metre.
  5. Industrial buildings are normally set-up to be warehouses (loading bay is highly visible) meaning the whole building's 人气 (human energy) is likely to be very lacking. This will affect productivity, motivation and creativity to the people working there unless the office Fengshui is specially taken care of
  6. Being located in a cluster of buildings, the level of sunshine would be limited, but this isn't a major flaw
  7. Badly lit office corridors don't prepare one mentally to start work for the day
  8. As it's an industrial building, ventilation system is likely to be poor, this will indirectly cause lethargy and loss of motivation to work

** A big clue to an office lacking in good Qi (energy) flow or 人气 (human energy) can be seen by indoor plants not growing well in that space.  This can be scientifically explained by plants not having enough CO2 for their normal transpiration, even if given enough water and sunlight by the window.

The biggest flaw the practitioner made was, he only looked at the "best" spot for my friend to sit in but neglected the right "formation", i.e the rightful seating arrangement.

In a company, the boss should sit right at the back of the office facing the clearway/passage with her subordinates at 90° to their sides, forming a U-shape.  Now while this is an almost ideal set-up, this can be played around according to available space.  But never should this be the other way round i.e the boss flank by their subordinates. 

As the head of the company, the "soldiers" (subordinates) should either be in front of the boss or by their sides.  Going against this critical principal won't give the boss a sense of ease in the company.

Many old school Fengshui practitioners have very little or no corporate working experience having much of their lives learning the texts by rote without know Fengshui is about flexibility and moving with the times.   They often fall into giving impratical solutions and in Fengshui, impractical solutions means bad solutions.  At it's worst, it's not a solution at all.

In addition, most of these practitioners have little will reading up, comparing notes with foreign Fengshui practitioners (Caucasians) where I found many of their ideas to space allocation, management and principles application are actually highly feasible.  The college degree courses offered in US and Europe are built on very strong foundation! 

In fact, I think they open a new door into Fengshui knowledge and application without sticking their head in the mud.  An example, they don't follow the outdated pricing system of ending with an "8" or a double "8" like the Asians and still, good solutions are delivered.

Experience, an open mind and positive learning attitude matter alot in life and this apply to giving Fengshui advice as well. 

Life (and Fengshui) is far too dynamic to be complacent over, which sadly, many people fail to recognise and acknowledge.